How to Win an Art Competition

If you won at least one art competition, you probably discovered a ‘formula’ for success. If you continue pressing a ‘Submit’ button but have never received a congratulating response, read our seven tips on how not to get lost among hundreds of entries.

1. Understand what the competition is about.
Reading the title is not enough. Make sure you read the concept thoroughly and understood what this competition is about. If you’re into landscapes, then, obviously, your artwork will not fit the idea of a portrait contest.

2. Understand the Title of the Competition.
Now read the title again. Very often the title prompts what kind of work you should submit to the competition. If it is called “Show Your World”, for example, then it means that you are asked to show something important and unique, which describes your life, resonates with you personally, or shows the diversity of the world we live in. Find out the specifics and respond to the call with your own unique vision.

3. Understand the Requirements.
Read about the medium, age, career level, or any other possible details to be accepted to the art competition.

4. Curate Your Artwork.
Often, more than one image is allowed to be sent to the competition. Make sure you carefully curate which series of images you are going to submit to the art competition. If one or more images do not belong to the series, it will confuse the jury. So don’t try to send various artworks to show your range. Make sure you’re consistent and not confusing.

5. Name Your Files.
The best way to name the images of your artwork is to include your name, the artwork title, and mention a medium.

6. Understand Technical Requirements.
Send the files which comply with the size, resolution, dimension, or whatever the requirements are. Work on your images to edit or transform them before you send them to the competition. In order to do this, you don’t necessarily need the expensive Photoshop. There are various other softwares available to help you work with your images. For instance, the simple Preview on your Mac provides you with the basic editing tools.

7. Include Your Artist Statement.
Often, the submission forms suggest the line “Additional Comments”, or “Details”. If including your artist statement is not an obligatory requirement, use the field for comments to include an excerpt from your Artist Statement, better up to 250 words. The description of your artwork is always helpful, too.

As you see, before entering the art competition you should do some ‘homework’. It may seem boring but at the end it helps the jury understand your art better. Remember that the jury members cannot visit your studio to enjoy and evaluate your artwork. There is no second chance to make a first impression. So here we go with a ‘bonus’ tip #8: send the best images of your artwork. If you cannot invest in a professional photo shoot, take pictures of your art at the best angle and with the most flattering light, when the details and colors are seen clearly. Support your entry with the concise description or statement. It does increase your chances to get noticed and win the art competition. // Natalie Burlutskaya, curator

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